Autumn

by Doc Adkins

It’s officially autumn!  On certain recent days it seemed like winter but rest assured it is autumn.  I remember the bold autumns of my childhood in Hinton. That smell of smoke coming from the chimney. A well thought through pantry of all kinds of stuff canned from the garden. Fall apples in a bushel basket on the back porch for anyone to partake when they entered the screen door on their way into the kitchen entry of the farm house.

I recall the bright summer sunshine giving way to a deeper golden glow that casted a rich light over everything.   The soft summer breeze picked up a cool edge that rattles across the pavement with the fallen leaves.

I once heard that a tree shows its true colors only once photosynthesis has stopped and the green of the chlorophyll gives way to the gold or crimson or rustic specific to its variety. I find that so interesting–a tree spends most of the year growing and storing energy and only once it begins to rest can you see its “true colors.” 

People are often described as being in a particular ‘season of life.’ If there are parallels, our prime years would be autumn, right? At about the point we’ve passed the summer season of youth, we’ve reached the place where we can live off the wisdom we’ve gained through our experiences. We aren’t as worried with impressing anyone, even though we’ve finally developed some of our most impressive characteristics–a lack of self-consciousness, a new self-confidence, wisdom that overcomes insecurity, grace to let others make the mistakes we’ve already learned from–just to name a few.

I’m not as old as I look,  (at least, that’s what my birth certificate says,  but I so  enjoy playing the Geezer part of life.  And, I do look forward to my check in a few years). Part of me would love to look in the mirror and see unlined skin and hair.  And what IS left of it, is masked by the ever-increasing silver.  At the same time, I’m glad that I’m not the person I was in the ‘summer’ of my earlier years.

In our youth-obsessed culture it’s easy to overlook the value of growing and maturing. But just like trees grow and mature and produce fruit at the right time, hopefully, so do we.

The Bible puts it this way, Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take  or sit in the company of mockers,

But whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers”.

Wherever you may fall on the season of life’s spectrum, take time to appreciate what God has done so far and anticipate what He has ahead.

The Autumn…A Season of Change

by Pastor Doc Adkins

My teenage autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, steaming hot kettles of soup and the smell of baking cornbread and many other dishes would flood the old farm house with the “smell of autumn, an abundant harvest, fires in the “cook stoves and coal stoves”, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—HUNTING SEASON AND FOOTBALL! I loved it.

The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest. It’s a good transition time.

“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year.

How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Moral and societal changes bother us most when we turn on our television or glance at the magazines. We’re painfully aware our kids are growing up in a world far different from the one we knew as children.

And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, steady decline in our vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God.

J.I. Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” (Joel 2:25-26). His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.

During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.   During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Life is always a matter of perspective!

God’s Portrait

by Doc Adkins

My favorite season of the year is the fall.  Football, hunting, the crispness of the season are just a few things that comes to mind when I think of the Fall.  Of course, the grandest of all is the change Fall brings. Colors that only an artist could ever imagine.

Immediately it makes us think of royalty and the greatest Painter of all–the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Master Painter. Just look at His creation–the trees, the sky, and the red and gold fall season that is soon upon us.

I can picture the Lord with His golden brush painting each individual leaf on those massive trees that line the mountainsides. Red, green, brown, orange, and gold colors, so vivid that our minds and hearts swell with praise.

Venturing into the crisp, cool air of the morning is usually a welcome change from the intense summer heat.  Yet for us in our area it seemed like we had a short summer and lack of hot temperatures.

Even here the Lord has it all under control. It may be shorter or longer than what we think we’d like. Sometimes summer seems to never end and, at other times, winter seems too long. But winter, spring, summer, and fall, God wants and will have them all.

He takes His golden brush and paints up the world. He also adds His golden touch to our lives if we let Him.

He is painting our lives in His special way, so that we might add color to this dark world. What if this was a land without color? It would be boring, dull, and gloomy. One of the reasons God created the seasons was to add His golden touch.

We are to be a light to the world we live in. Hopefully, we’re bringing life to our surroundings. Let us give the Lord permission to change us, to add that splash of gold. Then we can be a welcome change in this life filled with people who need a dab of paint upon their minds and hearts. Their lives can be changed when they realize that they too are a work of art so that the Master of their soul can say; “Now you are My child, and I can display you for all the world to see.”

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years.”(Genesis 1:14, NIV)  “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.” (Proverbs 13:9, NIV)

Summer Time

by Doc Adkins

When we think about this word, “summertime” and separate it into two words it appears that one doesn’t go with the other.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time at summertime.

It seems like we are always pressed for time. And that we want everything right now.

With e-mail and texting we can get some things done immediately, but not everything; and we seem to get impatient waiting for what we want.

Whether it is service at a restaurant, results from tests, answers to prayers, etc. Did you ever stop to really think about how long some people had to wait or do without in the Bible??

Here are a few examples: 

  1. It rained for forty days & nights while Noah and his family and ALL those animals rode out the waves!!  (Genesis 7) Forty days is a little less than a month and a half. Can you             imagine being cooped up in a smelly boat or going without bread & water for that long?!? I can’t!!  For most of us it’s hard not to eat for 12 hours before a blood test!                                                 
  2. Moses was up on the mountain with the Lord for forty days and nights without eating or drinking water!  (Exodus 34)
  3. Jesus was in the desert without food AND being tempted by Satan for forty days and nights!  (Mark 1)
  4. Then there was the seven year famine in Egypt; granted it was after a seven year abundance, but not everyone planned ahead (that would probably be me!).  (Genesis 41)

The questions here are these:

  • What were you doing seven years ago?
  • What will you be doing seven years from now?

I bet you didn’t have half of the friends that you have now back in 2006; and you will probably have many more by 202o.

This, for me, is the biggie — the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty YEARS! (Numbers 32 & Deuteronomy 2:7)  Now forty years is a looooong time. You guys know that I am a groovy geezer , and I have  lived almost 59 years; and some of you are barely behind me by far!  By the time most people are forty they are settled into their lives, not out wandering around trying to find it.

My point in bringing up all these events from the Bible is that God took care of all these people and HIS plan was fulfilled in HIS time.

So the next time you make a prayer request to God, be assured that he is taking care of it in HIS time; which doesn’t always coincide with our time plan!

Believe me I know that it isn’t always easy to wait, but we have to trust that God will work everything out according to    His Time.

Maybe HIS TIME is Summertime.

A heart to heart with good old Dad

by Pastor Adkins

“Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying…” 1 Kings 2:1

June!  The beginning of summer and a wonderful time to see God at His best. It’s also the month we celebrate Father’s Day.  (Just an early reminder to my girls and maybe yours too.)  I love being a dad. I have “daddy’s girls” right where they want me and I wouldn’t want to be any place else.  

When we are young most of us don’t see the importance of our parent’s advice whether it is fatherly or motherly. Sometimes it is only when we get a little older that we see that a lot of what advice they have given to us makes sense.

The devotional for this month comes from the sermon I have been working on for Father’s day and maybe you will enjoy a “sneak preview” of our celebration!

In 1 Kings 2:1-10, we see some advice, a charge really, that David gave to his son Solomon before David died. There’s so many good things that he says in this passage. Good advice whether you are a “momma’s boy” or “daddy’s girl”.

  • Be Strong and manly. (vs. 2)
    David knew he was dying so I guess it makes sense that he told his son to be strong. I’m sure the women don’t want to be manly or “shew thyself a man” as the verse says but we can take from this to be the best godly woman you are able to be and teach the daughters to be godly women.
  • Keep the charge of the Lord(vs. 3, 4)
    In these verses David encourages Solomon to strive to do everything he can to keep his life centered on the Lord. He talks about walking in His ways, keeping His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies.

    David had some ups and downs in his own spiritual life so he knew the importance of a close relationship with the Lord.

  • Show wisdom. (vs. 5, 6)
    David encourages Solomon to use wisdom when dealing with Joab and the things that specific situation entailed in verses 5 and 6.

    I think wisdom is something we all want for our children. I know I want my girls to use wisdom in their choices and decisions.

  • Show kindness. (vs. 7)
    In verse 7 David urges Solomon to show kindness to the sons of Barzillai who had shown kindness to him. Kindness is one of those things that lack in so many people today. I know raising kind children should be one of our goals.
  • Judge well. (vs. 8,9)
    David reminds Solomon of how to deal with Shimei, a man whose life David had spared at one point and time. You really have to go back and read through 2 Samuel 16 and 19 to really understand what the whole situation was about. I’m not going into detail here but judging and carrying out judgment was to be a big part of Solomon’s role as King.

    Even in our daily lives knowing how to judge in wisdom is so important. Also knowing that sometimes punishment has to be carried out is important as well.

Conclusion:
When we go on down to verse 10 of 1 Kings 2, we see that David died so these things he said to Solomon were probably some of the last words David spoke.

I think that David’s words to Solomon in this passage ended up being one of the most enduring father-son talks. This was right before David’s death and it was from the heart. David had learned many lessons in his life and I think he wanted his son, Solomon, to learn to keep his life in tune with the Lord so that his life would be the best it could be.

“Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.” 1 Chronicles 29:26, 27

So, do you take what your Heavenly Father tells you to heart?